A month ago, after his teams 24-10 victory against Purdue, Jim Harbaugh ripped into Purdue’s facilities for visiting teams:
It looked as if this debate came and went like most stories that start with Harbaugh rants. Michigan and Purdue went on with their respective seasons, but Michigan kept looking back on the game because of the injury QB Wilton Speight sustained during it. As much hate as Speight continuously received before the injury, it has become pretty apparent over the past few weeks that he is the best QB Michigan has. Speight is still recovering, but we are finally learning more about the handling of Speight’s injury that made Harbaugh so angry:
The Detroit News-Bobby and Martha Speight do not participate in interviews about any of their sons’ athletics careers, but they felt it was important to share what transpired to help other parents arm themselves with knowledge of medical facilities and care provided at different stadiums.
“What an absolute train wreck,” Bobby Speight said of the experience.
“Wilton gets hit and didn’t move for a little while, which is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Bobby Speight said. “The police took us down but were unable to open the door. Someone who appeared to be a member of the food staff realized what was going on and let us in. When that door opened, even in high school I had never been in a visiting locker room that bad. It was dark, dingy, dirty.”
There was no capability to take X-rays in the stadium. Purdue’s original statement said it made clear that “basic X-ray is available within our athletic footprint and more sophisticated capabilities are located two blocks away, similar to the arrangements at many other schools.”
Michigan and Michigan State have full X-ray capabilities at their stadiums, and they also provide police escorts if a player needs to be transported to and from the hospital. It’s not clear why Speight wasn’t transported directly to a hospital by ambulance.
Instead, Wilton sat in the front seat of a van provided by Purdue and driven by a student. The Speights, two medical trainers, a doctor and Thai Trinh, an orthopedic sports medicine fellow at Michigan, piled into a van to be transported to the student health clinic, about two blocks from the stadium.
“We take off with no escort,” Bobby Speight said. “We can’t get through because there are barricades up and (the van driver is) directing people to move them.”
Obviously, we are only getting one side of the story here, but jeez does this look bad for Purdue. Transporting a football player with a potential spine injury in a van driven by a student, probably being paid the minimum wage, is BANANA LAND. This would be unacceptable even if this was with a program like South Alabama. The student van drivers at my college, and I assume all colleges, are always half asleep on the job, counting down the seconds until they are off their shift, and are astoundingly bad at driving. They should NOT be accountable for driving an injured football player…ever!
They reached the Purdue University Student Health Center and headed downstairs.
They took him to the student health center! The same place a NARP would go if he had the damn sniffles, the QB from the University of Michigan went with a potential spine injury! Who is letting this happen?! Who approved this?! FIRE HIM/HER!
“They take us in the basement,” Bobby Speight said. “It’s very dimly lit. Halfway down the hall, there’s a (radiology) technician. Wilton is in (partial) uniform and still wearing cleats, and she asks Wilton his name. The (van driver) says he needs an X-ray. (The technician) looks at me and says, ‘I need your insurance card.’”
All together now: HARDOOOOO.
How on earth do you ask for an insurance card in this situation unless you are trying to be a massive hardo? What is Wilton supposed to say, “oh yeah, I have my insurance card in my back pocket, just give me a moment to go through my Costanza sized wallet!” I get it, this x-ray technician probably doesn’t like the football team and thinks the program takes away too much money from programs he enjoys like acapella concerts and the e-sports club he’s a part of (it’s totally a real sport, man!). This was his one big shot to prove a point. These x-ray shenanigans seem to be normal at Purdue, so I’m sure previous players have come in before. Also, I know this guy will plead ignorance, but he had to have known there was a football game going on. This is Purdue University in Indiana we are talking about. There are about 15 things that happen in the state all year. If there is a football game going on and you are on campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, you are going to know about it.
Michigan’s team doctors decided Speight should be transported to a local hospital, but the Purdue officials didn’t know which hospital to send them to, Bobby Speight said.
Probably because there are so many hospitals around Purdue, right? The Purdue officials are as incompetent as the football program has been since Joe Tiller left. Fitting.
“And we waited 20 minutes for the rescue squad team,” he said. “At that point, Wilton says he has tingling in his legs and is in substantial pain. The EMT riding in the back of the ambulance asks us if we need an IV or vital monitoring and Trinh replied, ‘No, but we need him stable and immobile. This is a back injury.’ We stop at a light, and the Michigan doctor asks how long is it going to take, and (the EMT) said 30 to 45 minutes on game day.
“Our doctor asked him, ‘Couldn’t we please turn on the siren and make better time?’ And (the rescue squad member) said, ‘Don’t you get smart with me. You said this is a non-vital trip.’ Our doctor said, ‘I don’t care what I told you, this boy has tingling in his legs. Turn the siren on and go.’
Fire everyone. Everybody needs to be fired who was a part of this. After that is done, I want Mr. Speight to call up one of his lawyer friends and sue the hell out of Purdue and the EMT company.
Luckily, Speight is alright, but I hope this will change the handlings of injuries at Purdue and other universities involved with major CFB. Injured players should be the #1 concern, whether they are from the home or away team. Maybe instead of spending thousands of dollars on spicing up a players locker or adding a waterfall to the locker room to impress recruits, because your success on the field is so shitty, teams will devote that money to the proper facilities for injured players.
@JackMacCFB on Twitter